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review 2019-01-22 16:16
Restoration Heights by Wil Meaderis
Restoration Heights - Wil Medearis

The noir detective novel, if not resurrected, is complimented by Wil Medearis' debut novel 'Restoration Heights'. Reddick is an artist with a day job in Brooklyn as an art handler, until an encounter with a girl changes everything.  Hannah is the fiancée to the heir of a powerful family, but they don't appear to be lifting a finger to solve her disappearance. Reddick's quest for answers becomes an obsession that is set off well against the changing backdrop of Brooklyn.

 

This is such a cool book. I've become a little wary of New York stories, but I like how Medearis underlines racial and class divides that still exist, and points out Reddick's own blind spots in that area with humor. There will be no end of Brooklyn stories before you this season, and those following, but the nod to genre plotting makes this one stand out.

 

This is out today in your local bookstore!

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review 2019-01-21 16:51
Holy Lands by Amanda Sthers
Holy Lands - Amanda Sthers

The author skillfully justifies how her characters, a 21st century well-to-do family, communicate so often with letters - which make up this novel - but she does not create a satisfying story.

 

'Holy Lands' is the story of a scattered family, headed by a father and ex-husband, who is a Jewish pig farmer in Israel. The opening of the novel is a flurry of angry, perplexed letters between the farmer and a local rabbi. This argument turns into a friendship. The farmer's ex-wife and his two children are brought into the narrative. Each have their own struggles and successes - notably, the father has refused to speak to his son, or respond to any of his letters since he discovered his son was gay.

 

There are bright moments of humor and I really did get a feel for these characters, but the plot, such as it is, is spurred on by a diagnosis and with that characterization seemed to have been tossed out the window to further the emotional impact of the plot.

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review 2019-01-20 20:00
A Memory of Light, Wheel of Time #14 by Brandon Sanderson and Robert Jordan
A Memory of Light - Robert Jordan,Brandon Sanderson

This series was a long road, there's never going to be anything like it for me ever again. There are other epic fantasies out there and there is one, still on-going, that I began around the same time I started this one - but, I'll admit it, 'A Song of Ice and Fire' can't match this. The Evil Empire is developing a fauxevision series of the show as I write this. It will be interesting to see them attempt it, but it won't be pretty. Gray Men can't make, duh.

 

This was my first time reading the entire series over again. The early novels I've read 6, 7, 8 times at least, but around the time I hit 'Winter's Heart' I wasn't feeling the love as strongly anymore. This reread, prompted by the 'Great American Read' (was it supposed to make me read something I hadn't before?), has made me fall in love all over again. Even with the typos that riddle these trade paperback editions. I've come to terms with the errors, the books still look pretty anyway, even if they aren't on the inside.

 

I also have to give huge amounts of credit to Leigh Butler, whose 'Wheel of Time Reread' on Tor.com made an excellent companion during my reading, helping me clear up long-standing questions and allowing me to see connections I never would have made on my own. 

 

In my first review of the book I praised Sanderson, and my only real criticism was my feeling underwhelmed by the conclusion and having been bored during a lot of the endless battle scenes. Some of that still holds true, but reading the whole series so close together this past year makes me appreciate even more how cohesive the series was and, frankly, amazed that more threads weren't dropped. The ambition of this series still staggers me.

 

These books still made me laugh, shiver with anticipation, and gasp in surprise - Sanderson wasn't great on laughs, but he nailed other important aspects and nixed arms crossed over breasts, so - it is so nice to be able to say that this series has aged well. I'm going to read it again. There's a lot that could be said about the sequel series in Seanchan Jordan talked about writing, or the other prequel novels, but this is what we have and its enough.

 

Oh, and I've been reading the official companion now that I've read the whole series over. I have some thoughts.

 

The Wheel of Time

 

Next: 'The Wheel of Time Companion'

 

Previous: 'Towers of Midnight'

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review 2019-01-19 20:01
In An Absent Dream, Wayward Children #4
In an Absent Dream - Seanan McGuire

This book kept staring at me from the new release shelves, and I couldn't resist it. The 'Wayward Children' series has entranced me even since I discovered it almost two years ago. McGuire uses the short length of the stories and the subject matter of the series itself to delve deep into the many facets of troubled childhoods.

 

I've had moments of disappointment with the series in the past, that's true, but only because I will always want deeper and more explicit answers than McGuire wants to give. Most storytelling, especially when it deals with the deep wells of adolescence and responsibility, requires a veil or two to coax the reader towards insight. Clear prose is desirable, bald prose not so much.

 

Sorry to be hedging around the point. 'In An Absent Dream' is the best entry yet in the series. McGuire tells the story of Lundy, a minor character in 'Every Heart a Doorway', and crafted a powerful story in her origins in our world and in the Goblin Market. More so than any other characters in this series I felt a sense of kinship with Lundy and sympathized with the choices she felt compelled to make.

 

Each of these stories can stand alone and publication order is almost always the most correct way to go about these things, but I wouldn't hold it against a reader if they wanted to read this one second.

 

Wayward Children

 

Next: ?

 

Previous: 'Beneath the Sugar Sky'

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review 2019-01-18 22:45
Beneath the Sugar Sky, Wayward Children #3
Beneath the Sugar Sky - Seanan McGuire

I can't recreate my original review, but it was mostly gushing anyway. This book took me completely by surprise, I remember. I had wanted something light to pass the time while helping my husband at a doll show. I ended up reading it in a single sitting, letting him take care of customers while I was lost in a fascinating candy world and reading intriguing backstories to the characters.

 

Little did I know that the characters are all about 90% backstory with their screen time not adding much to the 'present' at the school. That sounds bitchy, I know, but I loved this book and when I finally got a chance to read the first two books in the series I was disappointed there wasn't more substance to them.

 

That said, I still recommend them to fans of classic fantasy who want an author rooting around in the tropes box willy-nilly with fantastic results. It makes for great 'treat' reading. The fourth book has recently been released, covering the history of one of the more intriguing characters of the first book. Check it out at your local booksellers! That review is coming tomorrow.

 

Wayward Children

 

Next: 'In An Absent Dream'

 

Previous: 'Down Among the Sticks and Bones'

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